Earlier this year, I was sitting down with an agency that represents a major European beer brand. They shared that they were having a hard time expressing to their client that the definition of how men in Europe “live large” and how men in the U.S. “live large” has changed dramatically over the last few years. To their client, living large still meant bottle service, designer suits, getting groomed to the nines, and fancy cars. They were trying to show that living large in the U.S. has changed and men, even those with disposable income, don’t adhere to the traditional definitions of blowing their money. The new era of man would rather live large by roasting a whole pig, drinking craft beer, and serving artisan cocktails than fit the recent definitions of finer living.
Over the next several weeks, we will be debuting a new study that combines deep insights as well as survey results from over 2,000 men. We compiled over 50 hours of interviews with men across the country to get a sense of how they are living as men in 2012. One of the major themes we found was that men across a variety of ages and earning brackets are being much more conservative in their spending. While the economy is partially a factor, it is also because men are focused on planning for the long haul and being better prepared for their futures.
We asked them what they would do with $2,000 if it were given to them. They could do anything they like with the money. The top three areas where men said they would divide the funds: Save the money for a rainy day (25%), put the money into savings for a big purchase (25%), and make a purchase that would benefit the family (16%). We also asked the same group where they would have spent the $2,000 on five years ago, and 27% said they would have spent more of it on a purchase that would primarily benefit them. Clearly, their habits are shifting; is your brand ready for men who live medium?
I think we can finally put a nail in the coffin for the era of the metrosexual. The notion of the metrosexual man was that a growing segment of men were starting to care how they looked and about their own personal style. In 2012 it has become widely accepted that men care about style and grooming, but indications are that many are doing it while remaining budget conscious. New services like dollarshaveclub.com and Birchbox are feeding men’s desire to care about how they look while not breaking the bank. This was discussed in AOL’s Daily Finance blog last month.
It turns out, that brand I spoke to earlier this year was dead on; there is a new definition for living large in 2012. The New York Times published a story in May that discussed how modesty was a virtue among the new generation of Silicon Valley millionaires. If you became a Facebook millionaire in the IPO and then ran out to buy a fancy car, you would be “ridiculed and berated” if you posted a picture of it to your newsfeed. Overwhelmingly, men, even those who are spenders, are being more calculated about how they spend their dollars. When they do indulge, they are poised to remain modest.